Fairy-Tale Brute Squads

Implicit throughout the conversations at What’s Wrong with the World and McGrew’s personal blog is that the command to kill every Canaanite is a problem of Israelite men, and not the Israelites in general. There is no talk of the women rounding up the infants and, say, drowning them. From what I have seen in the world men are much less likely to kill children (the smaller the children, the less likely) than women, and women are more likely to rejoice in the suffering of their enemies. When David comes back from killing Philistines, women dance in the streets and they get up King Saul’s nose by singing “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands!” David danced, too, of course; he was the man after God’s own heart.

In fact, what we find in the text is that the Israelite men (after witnessing one mind-blowing miracle of God after another!) have to repeatedly be told to kill the innocents; not only children, but women, cattle, and even other men. Repeatedly. Red Sea, Angel of Death, manna, water from the rock, column of fire and pillar of smoke…none of it matters at the moment of execution. They simply won’t do it. Again: Hundreds of years after the beginning of the conquest of Canaan, David still has Philistines to kill! Even today there are still Philistines, and they are still in Canaan.

This is curious because we are told that the reasons the authority of men–especially fathers and husbands–must not be recognized over wives and even their own children is because they are big bullies at heart; never more than a moment away from brutalizing everyone weaker than themselves.

Could have fooled me.

My blogging superior is fond of pointing out the foolishness of this notion that most modern women are at risk of most modern men; especially when compared to the brutality of previous eras. My own view is that, as a rule, most men have never been very brutal to most women under them; that they were not much different back then than men now. Men are deferential to women’s preferences now.

  • It was men who voted in Title IX.
  • It was men who voted in No Fault Divorce.
  • It was men who voted in women’s suffrage.
  • It was men who wrote romantic poetry that elevated women.
  • It was men who feared the tyranny of the petticoat
  • It was men who turned chivalry into servitude for women

To find brutish men you have to go all the way back to the days of the Early Church, where we find St. Paul instructing them: “Wives, beware an over-protective husband; lest he whip you.”, and, “Husbands, do not beat your wives like red-headed Philistines.”

Hold up: I just re-read Ephesians 5, and that is not the instruction or tone at all!

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Just to be sure, let me cross-reference this with 1 Peter 3…

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands,as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

What a different picture! What is being encouraged is action, and what is being discouraged is sloth. Interesting. It seems that–just as today–the men of the Early Church had to be warned off passivity; not raging beatdowns.[1]  The exhortation to fathers in Ephesians 6 is of the same positive bent:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Yet an observer of the Church in the Western world has to say that what the Church teaches is schizophrenic. That on the one hand men–especially fathers and husbands–must always resist being too controlling; too protective; too demanding. On the other they are wholly responsible for, and must lead, their families. That false paradigm is bad enough, but what is worse is that “leading a family” is erroneously defined as doing what makes the followers happy. An impossible standard since we can only make ourselves happy, and since the sort of people who most need leading are the sort of people who are happier to go the wrong way.

So, where exactly are the records of men habitually brutalizing the women in their care? They are largely (though not completely) fantasy.


[1] As a bonus: Men engaged in the positive action of loving their wives are bulwarked against wrathful acts. Nourishing and cherishing abjure hating.

13 thoughts on “Fairy-Tale Brute Squads

  1. @Cane

    This is completely off topic, but I think it’ll be of great interest. Have you tracked the scandal in Great Britain surrounding Muslim men running child prostitution rings and the British authorities turning a blind eye to avoid charges of racism? If not, Mark Stein has a good summary here.


    Apparently, it’s been happening all over Europe for some time now, and this story from Der Spiegel (in English) is much closer to the topics you often write about; specifically, how original sin manifests itself differently in men and women.


    As I read the Spiegel article, I was struck by how this s__t storm perfectly encapsulates the logical conclusion of the symbiosis between bad-boy PUAs…

    “The mechanisms they use to entice the girls into submission, says Kannemann, are always the same: The pimp alienates a girl from her environment and stirs her up against her parents until he becomes the only person she can relate to.”

    …and the rebellious, hypergamist women who love them…

    “‘I know that he was bad for me’, says Angelique, ‘and that he messed up my life’. But to be honest, she adds, she still dreams about his eyes.”


    “Maria Mosterd has managed to get out, but she wonders how long it will last. ‘If he found me’, she says, ‘I can’t say that I would never go back to him’.”

    I also noticed that of all the girls Spiegel interviewed, only one seemed to live with both parents.

    That Spiegel article is chock full of fodder for a writer like you or Dalrock.

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  4. @inforwarrior1

    Somewhat disturbing to dig around the FAQ on that site:

    “Custody Issues for ex-Quiverfull Parents”

    Why would there be custody issues for ex-Quiverfull Parents? Just stop doing it as a couple, right? References to lawyers, child services, abuse … Oh, divorce.

    “NLQ FAQ: Is No Longer Quivering an Atheist Website?”

    “I hope it won’t be too frustrating for readers if I don’t answer with a simple “Yes,” or “No.”

    As for me, I am feeling more comfortable referring to myself as an atheist all the time.”

    Any Christian who listens to an atheist’s interpretation and application of the Bible is doing it wrong.

  5. No Longer Quivering is a site started by and dedicated to women who are survivors of “spiritual abuse” in conservative sects where quiver full and what they call “patriocentric” teaching is the dominant Christian narrative.

    That many of them have swung to the other extreme and are atheists or Christian feminists isn’t surprising..

    It’s not a site where you will find Orthodox Christian teaching.

  6. [I]That many of them have swung to the other extreme and are atheists or Christian feminists isn’t surprising..[/I]

    Am not surprised, am disturbed because of the message. “You’re abused. You’re in a cult [get out!]. They’re misinterpreting the Bible [says the atheist]. We’ll help you get custody [after you get divorced].”

    Though to be fair to the atheist, many of those articles are linked, so some of the Biblical interpretation is written by Christians.

  7. It has been quite a long while since I discovered NLQ and I dismissed them, not because I doubt the veracity of their stories of abuse (the numbers of scandals in recent years from these type ministries seems to bolster their claims even more).

    I dismissed them because like so many hurt, broken people they automatically assumed that the abuse they suffered means that the Bible doesn’t in fact mean what it says, that it must mean something else because letting it stand as is without a proper cultural filter leaves men free to operate against women as “brute squads” to borrow from our host.

    Though to be fair to the atheist, many of those articles are linked, so some of the Biblical interpretation is written by Christians.

    Not sure why these ostensibly Christian women are allowing an atheist to offer commentary there. There are more than enough of them who have not left the faith completely and are more than willing to offer a more liberal interpretation of Scripture without needing to give voice to someone who denies Christ altogether.

  8. @Elspeth
    “‘No Longer Quivering is a site started by and dedicated to women who are survivors of “spiritual abuse” in conservative sects where quiver full and what they call “patriocentric” teaching is the dominant Christian narrative.”

    Just their way of dismissing patriarchy. Which the entire bible commands and promotes. They make it seem like a new oppressive invention.

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